ACM E-Voting Expert Named to Key Federal Advisory Committee

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) recently appointed USACM-EC member Barbara Simon to the Board of Advisors for the Election Assistance Commission. USACM had nominated her along with three other USACM members to serve on the board in the positions reserved for technical and scientific professionals. Our release on Simons appointment is below, and you can find our letter on the nominations here.

New York, August 7, 2008 – Dr. Barbara Simons, a computer scientist and founder of ACM’s U.S. Public Policy Committee (USACM), has been appointed to the Board of Advisors for the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the Federal body that oversees voting technology standards. Simons, a past president of ACM, fills a vacancy on the Board. The seat is one of four positions out of a total of thirty-seven members allocated for representation by science and technology professionals. Simons was appointed to the board position by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The EAC was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) to assist in the administration of Federal elections.

“With the increasing use of technology in the voting process, it is important for the EAC to have the benefit of strong scientific knowledge and advice,” said Eugene H. Spafford, who chairs USACM. “Dr. Simons brings valuable technical expertise to the Board of Advisors to help inform the Commission’s focus on the intersection between voting issues and computing technologies. Her extensive experience with USACM as well as her advisory roles in high-profile national voting groups qualifies her as an expert on voting systems, election technology, and election processes.”

Dr. Simons was a member of the National Workshop on Internet Voting, convened at the request of President Clinton, which produced its report in 2001. She participated on the Security Peer Review Group for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Internet voting project (SERVE), and co-authored the report that led to the cancellation of SERVE because of security concerns. Dr. Simons also co-chaired the ACM study of statewide databases of registered voters.

An encryption and privacy expert, Dr. Simons served on a subcommittee of the President’s Export Council for Encryption. In preparation for anticipated security considerations for the year 2000, Dr. Simons also served on the information Technology-Sector of the President’s council on the Year 2000 Conversion.

In 2005, Dr. Simons became the first woman to receive the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award from the College of Engineering of the University of California, Berkeley. She received the Alumnus of the Year Award from the Berkeley Computer Science Department; the Distinguished Service Award from the Computing Research Association; and the Norbert Wiener Award from Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. She was also awarded the Outstanding Contribution Award from ACM and the Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Dr. Simons was selected by C|Net as one of its 26 Internet “Visionaries” and by Open Computing as one of the “Top 100 Women in Computing.” Science magazine featured her in a special edition on women in science.

A Fellow of ACM and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Dr. Simons was president of ACM from July 1998 to June 2000, and founded USACM in 1993, where she served for many years as chair or co-chair. She is retired from IBM Research, and is co-authoring a book on voting machines with computer scientist Douglas W. Jones of the University of Iowa.

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